When you get your garlic
Leave your garlic bags open letting airflow through and store them in a dark cool place until you are ready to plant.
Garlic is planted in the fall after a few light frost and before the ground freezes solid. If you are in a warmer region it is ideal to plant 2-4 weeks before the coldest time of the year. Break the bulbs down to cloves leaving the skin on. Plant root down 2” deep, spacing the cloves 6” apart, keeping the rows 9” apart. Garlic loves nitrogen! Mix some nitrogen supplement in to the soil before planting. Plant garlic in full sun and well drained soil. After planting apply 6” of mulch using leaves or pasture grass is the best. Try not to use anything with seeds to help with weeds.
Your garlic will excel if you give it a nitrogen supplement in early spring or even late winter. Keep your garlic beds well drained and well weeded.
Hardneck garlic will send up a beautiful flower stalk called a scape around June. Let the scape form one full curl and trim it at the base of the stem. Removing the scape will give all the energy back to the garlic bulb to keep growing. Scapes make for a delicious addition to a meal, do not throw them out! Scape pesto is one of our favorites! They can also be freezed and used all year.
Harvest garlic when several of the lower leaves go brown, but five or six up top are still green. Each green leaf equals one bulb wrapper that protects the cloves. Fewer wrappers makes for shorter storage. Harvest typically is late June-July. On our farm we harvest July 4th. Brush off the extra dirt and bundle no more than 10 garlics together and hang them out of direct sunlight in an airy area. Often a fan is needed to create the best airflow. Let them cure for 4 weeks. Enjoy!
Our main resource and guide for growing garlic is a book called “Growing Great Garlic” by Ron L. Engeland